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Rectifying an Old Injustice: The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC

  • Christine Knauer
Chapter

Abstract

In 1995, 52 years after the end of the war, the Korean War Veterans Memorial was opened on the Mall in Washington, D.C. For decades, veterans had felt the war and their service had been forgotten, overshadowed by the triumph of World War II and the dramatic failure in Vietnam. The campaign for a Korean War memorial and the memorial itself reflect veterans’ attempt to distance themselves from the defeat in Vietnam and associate with the triumph in World War II. Gradually, advocates redefined the war as a victory that initiated the fall of Communism. This understanding of the conflict and its significance ensured that commemorative efforts emphasized the role of the United States as the military and economic savior of South Korea. However, they all but ignored Korea and the Korean people, reducing them to stereotypes or the passive beneficiaries of American sacrifice, while underlining the United States’ self-perceived role as savior and modernizer.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent HistorianStuttgartGermany

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